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Long time no updates, but I promise you this one will be a good one :).
In the last three months, thanks to our incredible supporters from around the world, we managed to send all of our students back to school with backpacks, provide many with new clothes and shoes, host a big Easter party for the students, and build a roof and flooring for the outside part of the school house thus tripling our capacity during rainy season, just for starters!
The biggest news is that starting in May, we are completely overhauling our curriculum to teach intensive English to all of our students, from pre-school to 6th grade, for the next 6 months. Why?
1. The point of Education Plus is not just to graduate our students from high school, but, above all, to give them the tools that they need to succeed in life. In the context of Nicaragua, English is the #1 tool that they need to go on to higher education (even internationally) and to find steady, well-paid employment.
2. After they learn English, we can begin to teach some of their regular subjects (such as math) in English. Besides killing two birds with one stone, this will allow our volunteers who speak limited Spanish to be able to participate more in teaching and tutoring.
3. All of the children, even the preschoolers, really, really want to learn English. How great for us to be able to sate their thirst for learning!
Our lead teacher will be Mickey Dodson from Chavalos Nicos, a certified ESL instructor who has over 10 years of experience teaching English to impoverished children in Nicaragua. Over the years she has graduated dozens of students fluent in English and we are incredibly lucky that she is willing to volunteer her time with us. Older students who are currently on English scholarship to ABC school and who are not able to attend our program because they attend high school in the afternoon will continue attending ABC with their sponsors’ support.
We will still be breaking the children up into three groups, and now while one group is in session learning English outside, the other has the opportunity to receive remedial help with their schoolwork inside of the schoolhouse. Students will still have the same opportunities to “earn” school supplies to facilitate their public school attendance as well. The nutrition program will also continue, to the extent that we can afford it.
Right now, we really need help with teacher stipends and food for the children. To implement the English curriculum, we have three teachers who are willing to join us for a total of $250/month – one to assist with English teaching, one to lead the tutoring program, and Mickey needs her transportation covered. We really need these teachers to make sure the program is a success, especially because we have large class sizes and periods when we don’t have any volunteers.
Thanks to Samaritan’s International, we are able to provide fortified rice daily to the children. And recently, Leslie Warren of International Peace Projects donated part of her yucca crop to her (we went out to the campo to harvest it! So much fun!). However, we still need to come up with the funds to purchase fresh vegetables, milk, and fruit. We also found a sponsor for transport for a beach trip to San Juan del Sur this year for 40 of our top attendees, but in order to take advantage of this, we need to raise the money to feed and insure the children on this day as well, approximately $80. If you can help us with any of these things, especially sponsoring a teacher, please please click on one of the links below:
As always, you can see where your donations are going by CLICKING HERE and clicking “View Education Plus Nicaragua Expense Report”. We upload receipts for as many expenditures as possible. Because of the particularities of the Omprakash accounting platform, if we used funds other than Omprakash donations (cash, paypal, Wepay), we have to report the expense as $0, but we put the actual amount spent in the description area.
As a highlight, it is incredibly moving to see our students with their bleached out malnourished hair growing out black at the roots, thanks to our nutritional program. Here are just two examples:
Finally, one big huge thanks to all of our donors who keep this program afloat, and to all of the volunteers, both local and foreign, who have come to assist us over the past year. We wouldn’t exist without you!
Executive Director, Education Plus Nicaragua